Book Review: Breaking Bread

Martin Philip

Breaking Bread

There's nothing quite like a fresh, warm loaf of bread. The smell of it baking may only be trumped by that of chocolate chip cookies when it comes to calling man, woman, and child to the dinner table from their respective corners of the house or yard. But for Martin Philip, breaking bread is more than that. It's personal.

In this book, recipes are not arranged by type or ingredient, but by place and time, by when and where Philip learned to make or perfect the recipes. Chapters are broken up under headings like "Leaving," "New York," and "Home Again." Each recipe has history, an explanation of how food has a way of reconnecting and transporting us back home.

After all, Philip explains, recipes, meals made and shared, bread baked, is essentially identity served on a plate – edible history. Recipes range from simple butter biscuits to basic French dough, pain de seigle to poolish baguette, cinnamon rolls to citrus vollkornbrot. And not all of the recipes are bread, of course. Items that can be spread on bread or, at the very least, contain flour, can also be found. There's molasses pie, tapenade, poached pears, baba ghanoush. There's also a section on method, guiding budding bakers through the foundations and process of breadmaking so they, too, can be a breadwright.

As the recipes unfold, so does the narrative. Philip shares how he left his home in Arkansas, wooed his sweetheart with biscuits and black-eyed peas, and followed his baking dream through several states, raising a family, experiencing competition, struggle, and success. It's a cookbook that aims to inspire you to "bake your own narrative."

Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes

by Martin Philip
Harper Wave, 400 pp., $35

Philip will present “A Baker’s Journey Cooking Demonstration” at 12:30pm Sunday, Oct. 28, in the Central Market Cooking Tent, and sign Breaking Bread at 1:30pm in the Adult Signing Tent on Congress.

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Texas Book Festival 2018

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